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Buddhist offer a different perspective on Marvel's Dr. Strange. Hindu astrology is explained. And a writer for The Atlantic Monthly wonders if moral relativism is dead. It's Faithful Friday, our weekly segment on news about faiths and religions from around the world. All this and more for the Pagan News Beagle!
“Thou know'st 'tis common;
all that lives must die,
Passing through nature to eternity.”
We come to this New Moon in Scorpio still within the tide of Samhain, All Hallows, Day of the Dead. There’s a reason all those holidays happen around the middle degrees of Scorpio — there is truly a thinning of the veil between the worlds of the living and the dead at this time of year (and don’t let anyone tell you the veil isn’t there at all — if it wasn’t, we’d all be dead).
Do you honor your ancestors as part of your spiritual practice? If not, this would be a good time to start. The New Moon in Scorpio always brings us to a time of introspection, a time to face our deepest needs and fears, commune with our beloved dead, and welcome deeply transformative experiences. I’ll tell you an experience I had with an African ancestral ritual a little later in this post, and why I think working with our ancestors is important. Meanwhile, back to the astrology…...
"You don't really believe in astrology, do you?"
It amazes me how often I have been asked this question, even by people who know I am a professional astrologer (and it’s a pretty insulting question to ask a professional.). The question itself is symptomatic of a deep bias against astrology that comes out of the scientific community. Refuting the reasons for that bias would take a whole book, and fortunately astrologer Pam Gregory has written one with the same title. But there are a few key points about astrology and science I’d like to make here.
1) Bias is a lousy basis for experimentation.
In the course of acquiring a solid scientific education, one of the first things I learned is that science is based on objective observation and testing. Theories are encouraged, but if your theory gets in the way of your facts, then it’s back to the drawing board or the lab bench. I also learned that scientists, like other humans, can be far from objective, cherish their pet theories, and even descend into intellectual dishonesty in defense of their preferred world view (or their grants). Astrology threatens the core world view of many scientists, and they attack it with such ferocity that it’s clear they have a real emotional investment in demolishing it. This leads to flawed reasoning, testing, and interpretation....
"The beginning of love is to let those we love be perfectly themselves, and not to twist them to fit our own image. Otherwise we love only the reflection of ourselves we find in them." ~ Thomas Merton
The August New Moon, in fun-loving, generous, heart- (and sometimes self-) centered Leo, forms a threesome with Venus, planet of relationships. This configuration tends to turn astrologer’s minds to hearts and flowers and “Love Is in the Air” . But a closer look at the chart reveals that you won’t be able to get away with a saccharine and shallow approach to relationships this month. (Though by all means, feel free to drag out the disco music. Someday I’ll do an astrological study of the disco scene in the 70s and will, I have no doubt, find a prominent Leo signature in the charts)....
"Go placidly amidst the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence." Max Ehrmann
This month’s New Moon features some intense aspects and planetary placements, including a station of Mercury as it prepares to go retrograde. It occurs just a few minutes after midnight on Monday, May 18th (all times EDT, find the chart here) at 27 degrees of Taurus, so anyone with placements in 23-30 degrees of the fixed signs will have some extra energy to play with this month. Opportunities and pitfalls both abound — let’s take a look at how we might chart a course towards the former and avoid the latter....